Tekom 2018 took place from Nov. 13th to 15th in Stuttgart, Germany. Approximately 4,600 participants from different parts of the world came together to discuss the latest developments in the field of technical communication, including our very own HansemEUG representing South Korea. After being informed about my scheduled participation in Tekom several months prior, I was constantly worried, excited, and looking forward to being in a live, face-to-face setting with others from the same business community. As it turned out, the Tekom Conference 2018 was, without-a-doubt, an eye-opening experience, full of promising meetings, interesting presentations, and constant inspiration from peers all over the world.
The Hansem Team (consisting of Brian, Justin, Danbi, and myself) arrived at Tekom on a cold and breezy morning. We came early but there were already thousands of earlier birds. People were lining up, chatting in an enthusiastic tone as they could anticipate just how amazing the next three days would be. We got to our booth situated at Hall C2 – F31: a very nice location, in short. We were surrounded by some of our old friends and partners. Everyone recognized us immediately, and a lot of friendly banter was exchanged, but longer business related catching-up talk had to wait: We had a booth to set up. We had a little set-back, but it was no big deal as the slight damage to the booth on the first day of the conference did not faze our team’s spirit.
Once the booth was done, Justin told me: “Vi, our main mission is to get people sit down in this chair and talk with us.” And that’s what we did. Over the next three days, not only did we get to meet and have in-depth exchanges of information with our business partners from the past couple of years, we also met with new potential clients and shared about HansemEUG’s on-going business plan, vision, and path ahead. Through all of this small talk and deep conversations, it was not just information and business cards that were being exchanged, but also each company’s expectations and concerns for their future projects, their services, and the people who are behind them. Everyone left our booth with a smile, promising plans for cooperation, and huge expectations for HansemEUG. “The wonderful future is calling!” – as one might say.
That was not all, Tekom also provided participants with a diverse choice of presentations on new tools and lectures in different subject areas of technical communication. Sadly, most of them were conducted in German, however, we managed to find some English-based presentations that suited our interests to attend. On the final days, when things were less hectic, I even found time to drop by another company’s booth to learn about their latest tool and technology.
These last-day visits got me thinking the most. What are the limits? At each booth I visited I was overwhelmed by the creativity and innovations poured into their latest technology. You think managing resource data is all that is offered? “The new version offers auto-sending email.” You think the QA tool can only QA terms that are included on the term list? “With this new function you can extract, add, and suggest terms by yourself just with one click.” Having trouble with a new font? “With this tool, you can check the font and translate at the same time.” There are answers for everything!
As I was walking around and learning from people, it hit me that technical communication is evolving. The translation and localization field is moving at such a fast pace that if you don’t put on your running shoes now you’ll be left behind. The period of translate-then-QA is almost over, now everyone is shortening their working time and increasing their capacity with translate-and-QA on one server, at the same time, with the same pace. We are heading towards a newer, faster, and more convenient era – an era of ever increasing technological and machine integration with technical communication and the service economy. Then I thought of HansemEUG and how we are currently one of the best LSPs in Asia. HansemEUG could easily be satisfied with our current success and sleep on that, but every year, we reach out for new technology and tools, meet new clients, reconnect with our current ones, and standardize our workflow to stay abreast of the changes. What we have become today is all thanks to the concrete directions from BOM, the constant awareness of the latest technology, the application of new tools, and the staff’s hard work and constant striving for the best quality.
The Tekom Conference quickly came to an end with a promising future ahead. We still have lots of follow-ups to do but, as I was leaving Stuttgart, I packed with me all the wonderful lessons, beautiful memories, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and an enchanting realization: “Only the sky’s the limit, but if we really want it, our limit is far beyond the sky.”